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Monday, July 30, 2007

Kelsey Gardens: Slowly Emptying, But No Progress

Several people have asked me about the status of Kelsey Gardens. One neighbor from 5th Street has been in contact with ONE DC and learned the following:
Once the settlement was accepted between the tenant association and Kelsey Garden owners, ONE DC anticipated that residents would begin receiving vouchers and moving out. To date, most of them (tenant association members) have moved to Capitol Park Plaza in SW. Most of the residents remaining were never members of the tenant association so moving TA members off the property seems to have been a priority with Metropolitan & Deliverance Church although some TA members are refusing to move until they absolutely have to. ONE DC is not aware of any projected construction date and to the best of their knowledge, the zoning process has not started. The developer has not finalized an agreement with the tenant association.
So it *seems* that Kelsey Gardens is slowly emptying out but that there is no definite date by which all tenants must vacate. Does anyone have any further insight into deadlines, future plans, or interim plans?


My 2 cents: Kelsey Gardens continues to be a haven for crime, and will likely become increasingly such as tenants move out. I think as soon as the place can be leveled, even if the land sits empty in the interim, the better. Kelsey Gardens stifles progress on the 1500 block of 7th Street. I bet viable plans for the redevelopment of Kelsey Gardens will materialize soon after the dirt starts to fly on the O Street Market redevelopment, which is a catalyst project for the entire area.

All that said, the loss of Kelsey Gardens constitutes the loss of affordable housing--albeit dangerous, socially unhealthy affordable housing--in Shaw. As Shaw's renewal continues, we have the responsibility of making sure affordable housing opportunities persist (I strongly believe that the best communities are mixed income communities). Fortunately several notable new developments promise to bring affordable housing opportunities in the future: Broadcast Center One will bring about 50 below market units, Self-Help’s Flats at Blagden Alley project will bring about 53 workforce units (the plans for which are beautiful, btw), and the O Street Market redevelopment will bring 100 units of affordable senior housing.

8 comments:

ML said...

I've got no more info on Kelsey.

However, I totally agree with you that the sooner Kelsey Gardens is emptied and demolished, the better. It is unfortunate that there could be a net loss of affordable housing in Shaw, however, the dense concentration of low income housing up and down 7th helps no one.

When you concentrate so much low income housing together, you also concentrate the social problems that unfortunately often go along with it - parenting problems, drug problems, gang problems, etc. Hopefully with Kelsey gone, there will be break in the chain up and down 7th and we'll see some improvement in that corridor.

Shaw Rez said...

Very well said, ML...

Anonymous said...

"the developer has not finalized an agreement with the tenant association," according to ONE DC, yet there was a settlement??? How does this make sense? I really don't get it...

Anonymous said...

Why is it ML you mention tenant problems but never poorly run management companies that are only interested in getting steady income and not keeping up with the maintenance of their shabby properties? If the broken windows were fixed it wouldn't be so bad. I guess you don't think slumlords exist do you?

Shaw Rez said...

anon @ 5:50 - I re-read ML's comment and don't see to what you're referring.

Slum-lords certainly do exist and are a major part of the problem for sure. But the mentality of building communities where low income people are segregated and concentrated in isolated sections of the city and/or neighborhood does not make healthy community.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update...hard to believe after all the back and forth trying to save Kelsey Gardens and an agreement being reached after 3 years of court battles that suddenly no one has any idea what the status of this building is..."some" tenants settled and the rest are on their own? Who put the plywood over the management companies phone number? Somebody has to know something...and I agree this is just going to present a bigger danger to the neighborhood as it drags on...

Does Commissioner Padro know what's up??

Anonymous said...

Maybe Will Smith at Fox 5 would like to come back and do an update on the current situation?? They were there when someone was shot and killed in the stairwell several months back...Or will they just wait to cover the next one??

This place can't just be left to deteriorate...who knows the landlord?

Shaw Rez said...

UPDATE: This just in correcting some of comments above:

"Someone commented erroneously that the owners have not reached an agreement with the tenant association. As part of the settlement agreement entered into between the Kelsey Gardens TA, Metropolitan Development Corporation & Deliverance Church of God in Christ, There would be an individual hired (of the tenants choice), who would act as the tenant association representative during the re-development process. The TA selected Christopher Donald back in December 2006 and although Mr. Donald has already began to work on behalf of the tenant association, he, the owners and Metropolitan Development Corporation have yet to enter into a formal agreement as required under the terms of the settlement agreement."